Before America can experience revival, the Church must get over its obsession with cheap grace. We take for granted every part of Godâ€™s grace and mercy to the point of even denying the atoning death of Christ. Some, such as Mormons, believe that the atonement secures a physical resurrection that brings immortality but add the works of obedience and repentance to bring forgiveness.
Obedience does not bring forgiveness and eternal life; only faith in Christ alone will save us.
Another view spreading across America is that of inclusivism, in which salvation is available for everyone, regardless of whether they have heard about Christâ€™s sacrifice. This too is not Biblical because Jesus died on the cross to be a substitutionary sacrifice for us. A price must be paid for my sin and my due for my sins, my wages, what Iâ€™ve earned is eternal death, forever separated from God.
We must not confuse what Jesus did on the cross for what was expected of me for my sins. God says I must die and be forever separated. Jesus died as a substitute for that requirement. Jesus did not fulfill my requirement; His sacrifice was a willing exchange between God and Jesus. And God accepts my â€œalternative paymentâ€ when I accept Christâ€™s atoning sacrifice. The Apostle Paul clarifies redemption in Christ:
â€œIn Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…â€ (Ephesians 1:7)
Beloved please remember that Jesus died for the remission of sins. What does that mean? It means that through the blood sacrifice of Christ, God remitted the penalty of eternal hell that is required for our sins. Random House Dictionary defines remit in this context as â€œto refrain from inflicting or enforcing, as a punishment, sentence, etc.â€
So God does not enforce His punishment o us because by faith we have accepted Christâ€™s atonement. Remember what Jesus said in John 3:14-15?
â€œAnd as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.â€
Letâ€™s refresh our memories as to why Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness:
â€œThen they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: â€˜Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.â€™ So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, â€˜We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.â€™ So Moses prayed for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, â€˜Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.â€™ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.â€ (Numbers 21:4-9)
Notice that death was substituted by the people looking up at the serpent, in faith believing they would be saved, the bitten person was saved. Now the â€œwagesâ€ of their sin did not go away; in other words it was not paid by the serpent. It was a â€œsubstitutionaryâ€ payment for their sins.
Beloved Godâ€™s people in America loath the Bread of Life as if it was worthless. American Christendom is not satisfied with what Jesus provides so it covets the world. And all the while we expect God to forgives us because He is the Forgiving Father and we ignore the Suffering Savior. Oswald Chambers puts it this way:
â€œBeware of the pleasant view of the Fatherhood of God – God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That sentiment has no place whatever in the New Testament. The only ground on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ; to put forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy. The only ground on which God can forgive sin and reinstate us in His favor is through the Cross of Christ, and in no other way. Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace; it cost God the Cross of Jesus Christ before He could forgive sin and remain a holy God. Never accept a view of the Fatherhood of God if it blots out the Atonement. The revelation of God is that He cannot forgive; He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God by the Atonement. God’s forgiveness is only natural in the supernatural domain.â€
Beloved are you trying to be forgiven another way outside the Atonement of Jesus Christ? If so, you are on a foolâ€™s errand. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away our sins and make us white as snow.
Have you been washed in the blood of Christ? If not I am praying right now that you will accept Jesusâ€™ substitutionary payment for your sin.
And if youâ€™ve wandered off the path of righteousness, if you have rebelled against the blessings of Almighty God, look to the tremendous tragedy of the cross of Christ and return to Him.
I pray you all have a wonderful weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
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Copyright Â© 2010 David Jeffers